Two C-130Hs begin the path to transformation

The aircraft will be converted into air tankers by Coulson Aviation

C-130H Coulson convert air tanker Tucson
Two Coulson C-130H aircraft being towed from the AMARG in Tucson Feb. 29, 2020. Coulson photo.

Yesterday the physical process of converting two C-130H aircraft formerly owned by the Norwegian military began when they were towed from the Aerospace Maintenance and Regeneration Group (AMARG) in Tucson, Arizona. Coulson  Aviation (USA) Inc. purchased five C-130Hs through a complicated procedure that started in March, 2018 and was finalized at the end of 2019.

Thursday the two aircraft were moved from AMARG to a nearby facility where they will be brought back to life, with the goal to fly them both out in March for heavy maintenance and conversion into air tankers capable of fighting wildfires.

A third 737 is being converted
In 2017 Coulson purchased six 737-300’s to convert them into 4,000-gallon “Fireliner” air tankers capable of transporting up to 70 passengers. So far two conversions are complete, and Tankers 137 and 138 and have been dropping on fires in Australia during their 2019-2020 bushfire season. New South Wales bought T-137 and Coulson still owns T-138.  Britt Coulson, Vice President of Coulson Aviation, told us a third is in the pipeline; all of the parts have been manufactured and their team members are working on it.

C-130H Coulson convert air tanker Tucson
Two C-130H aircraft being towed from the AMARG in Tucson Feb. 29, 2020. Coulson photo.

3 thoughts on “Two C-130Hs begin the path to transformation”

  1. The most effective aircraft to convert into FireFighting Aircraft are the 747-300’s.
    The numbers which each of these A/C Carry is obvious and justifies using funds most efficiently.
    The larger 737-300’s capacity of 18K gallons provides for the safest operation with the greatest FireFighting capacity.
    Using the largest volume possible extinguishes the most Fire using the least amount of cost per gallon of FireFighting Agent. Not only is there a monetary benefit, but there is a huge safety benefit — the lower the number of A/C on scene, the lower the risk involved. The larger A/C are also much powerful and able to fly faster and further to load with fuel and agent. The larger A/C are stronger A/C and are safer.
    The lower the number of flights made on an incident, the higher the safety, the less cost per unit, more fire extinguished and more lives saved and less lives risked.

    Large conflagrations are not effectively extinguished via ground operations, Ultra Heavy AirCraft are the future for these incidences.

    1. How many times have you seen a 747 do an assault landing? Bigger doesn’t always mean stronger or better.

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